Are you having trouble getting organic traffic to your website? I’ve written articles that had absolutely no traffic at all and it hurts. In this short but sweet SEO tutorial, I’ll show you how to do SEO for your website so that never happens again.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s basically the process of optimizing content for search engines. In most cases, this simply means creating content with the intent of being ranked for a specific keyword or phrase.
How do you optimize for search engines?
When it comes to SEO, there are many things you can do to set yourself up for success. I’m going to discuss the most essential tactics you can employ to rank higher every time you write a new post.
The most important rule is to keep your writing natural, don’t compromise the way you answer a question. Google’s algorithm is intelligent and will detect when you are counting cards, keep it natural and don’t game the system. A search engine will simply evaluate the best answer to show the user, so write better content.
When we tell our stories we often add a bunch of additional details that are not needed. Take the time to determine what information is helping the individual and what is simply fluff. Also, imagine search engines trying to index your content but having too many unrelated terms to fully understand the context of your page.
Go look at the top-ranking websites, you’ll notice that they all have a clear separation between major and minor sections. The reader should be able to find what they need very quickly by skimming your content. Gone are the days of waking up to read the morning paper, nowadays you need to hold the reader’s hand. Think of these headers as your table of contents. That being said, here’s a free Table of Contents plugin that makes it easy for your users to navigate your posts.
Google has recently stated that they will be using page load speed as a ranking factor. This means your website better be as fast or faster than your competitors. Ranking higher on a SERP (Search Engine Result Page) is just one factor, think about all the users who are impatient. Don’t give your visitors a reason to hit the back button, work on decreasing your page load times.
Best WordPress Plugins
In an era that is glued to mobile phones, we have to make sure the mobile experience is just as good, if not better. In this recent internet device report, the number of mobile-users has quickly outnumbered desktop visitors. Google has also mentioned mobile optimization as a ranking factor so you should be making this a priority. Head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool to see how you stack up.
Make your visitors feel safe on your website with an SSL Certificate. This digital certificate that you install on your server will allow you to use the “HTTPS” secure protocol. Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking signal for years now so this will be an important security measure.
In the past, you’d have to pay an annual fee for SSL certificates. The good news is that now you can use a hosting company like Cloudways that gives you a free SSL certificate to keep your web traffic encrypted.
For the same reason you’d create a menu for your website visitors, you should create a sitemap for web crawlers. Search engines send out web crawlers to scan your website and a sitemap will make it easier for your pages to be indexed.
Improve CTR (Click Through Rate)
More than ever, Google and other search engines are relying on the searcher’s intent to rank web pages. When pages have a ton of impressions on the result pages but have a lower CTR this is a major ranking signal. Search engines want to show the best results first and if your pages have a low CTR they will be moved down the list.
How can you improve your CTR?
It’s actually pretty simple, write better headlines and craft descriptions that make the reader want to know more.
Post Title (Headline)
- Try using power words to trigger emotions that get people to click
- Use numbers in your titles to increase click-throughs
- Add a target keyword or key phrase to the title
- Use insight signals that tell the reader what they can expect
- Keep it short but not too short (50-60 characters max)
Headline Formula: Number + Power Word + Targeted Keyword + [Insight Signal]
A good description of your post will give further insight into what the searcher needs to know to become interested enough to click-through.
It’s important to note that the meta description is not used as a ranking factor and rather a way to increase your average click-through rate (CTR).
Description Formula: Question + Promise or Solution + Targeted Keyword
Add Alternative Text
People tend to be lazy when it comes to adding ALT text to images they’ve uploaded. Search engines use these images to better understand more about the context of an image. The visually impaired also use this information when they use a screen reading software to view your web page.
Here’s what Google has to say about ALT text best practices.
Good Example: alt=”Young man working on computer”
Bad Example: alt=”man” or alt=”my keyword”
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
When you create content you should pride yourself on being genuine. It’s ok to approach from a keyword-driven approach to increase rankings, but don’t overuse keywords. In the industry, they call it keyword stuffing when you overuse keywords.
Protip: If your keyword density is over 1% you’re most likely overusing keywords.
The more high profile backlinks a website has the more credibility it will gain. Search engines will use the number of quality links as a ranking factor. It’s important to create content worth linking to and sharing with other creators to improve ranking.
Getting bloggers, website owners, and influencers to share your content will help you grow much faster. Start doing outreach to get more backlinks from higher quality websites.
Here are the big takeaways for website owners who are trying to do SEO for their own websites.
- Write content in a natural way that solves a problem
- Remove the fluff and only write what is complementary to your content
- Create titles for each section using the heading elements
- Optimize your website for speed and mobile devices
- Use an SSL Certificate to secure your website
- Create a sitemap for search engines to crawl content
- Improve your click-through rates
- Add Alt descriptions to your images
- Don’t overuse your keywords
- Work on getting more backlinks from high PR websites
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I could make a commission from your purchase.